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The Best Musical Artists From Iowa

Updated April 12, 2019 3.6k votes 416 voters 16k views99 items

List RulesOnly artists born or raised in Iowa or bands formed in Iowa..

Here are the best artists and bands from Iowa. When most people think of Iowa, their first thoughts turn to farms and corn. However, once you get past all the farms, you will find a vibrant music scene that has produced some of the most influential artists in modern America. Many musicians who are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame came out of Iowa, including The Everly Brothers, Art Farmer, and Bix Beiderbeck. This list of the most famous Iowa musical artists has acts from all walks of life and from pretty much every musical genre conceivable. 

One of the most interesting developments to come out of Iowa is the emergence of heavy metal bands. Slipknot is originally from Des Moines, and they even named one of their albums Iowa. On the much lighter side of rock and roll, Nate Ruess, who is the lead singer of the band FUN, was born in Iowa City. 

Iowa also has the distinction of being the location where Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens were taking off from on their ill-fated flight. They performed their last gig at the Surf Ballroom. Other popular Iowa artists include Corey Taylor, Julia Michaels, Emily West, and Stone Sour.

It is up to you to decide who the best musical artists from Iowa are. Vote for your favorites, so they can climb to the top of the list. 

  • 1


    Nu metal, Groove metal

    AlbumsSlipknot, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), Iowa, 9.0: Live, Wait and Bleed

    Slipknot is an American heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. Formed in September 1995, the group was founded by percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray. After several line-up changes in...  more

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    The Man Behind The Mask: Stories From Corey Taylor's Childhood#567 of 1,681 The Best Rock Bands Of All Time

  • 2

    Stone Sour

    Nu metal, Rock music

    AlbumsCome What(ever) May, Through Glass, House of Gold & Bones – Part 2, Stone Sour, House of Gold & Bones – Part 1

    Stone Sour is an American rock band formed in Des Moines, Iowa in 1992, performing for five years, before disbanding in 1997. They reunited in 2000 and since 2006, the group has consisted of Corey...  more

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    The Best Stone Sour Albums of All Time#117 of 392 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time

  • 3

    Corey Taylor

    Nu metal, Thrash metal

    AlbumsSeven Rings in Hand: Sonic and the Secret Rings Original Sound Track, I'm Not Jesus, X-M@$, London Calling

    Corey Todd Taylor (born December 8, 1973) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and author. He is known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the bands Slipknot and Stone Sour.Taylor and Jim Root...  more

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    Slipknot's Corey Taylor Reveals Stories That Explain How You Can Believe In Ghosts But Not God#215 of 488 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 4

    The Everly Brothers

    Christian music, Rock music

    AlbumsChristmas With The Everly Brothers, The Everly Brothers Sing Great Country Hits, It's Everly Time, Born Yesterday, All-Time Original Hits

    The Everly Brothers were an American country-influenced rock and roll duo, known for steel-string acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing. Consisting of Isaac Donald "Don" Everly (born...  more

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    The Best Everly Brothers Albums of All Time#233 of 300 The Best Duos of All Time

  • 5

    Jim Root

    Nu metal, Heavy metal
    James Donald Root (born October 2, 1971), also known by his number #4, is an American musician, songwriter, and guitarist. He is one of two guitarists for the American heavy metal band Slipknot, and...  more
  • 6

    Glenn Miller

    Swing music, Big band

    AlbumsA Christmas Concert, Past Perfect, Songbook, The Real Glenn Miller, Legends

    Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – disappeared December 15, 1944) was an American big-band trombonist, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist...  more

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    #734 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#66 of 190 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

  • 7

    Paul Gray

    Pop punk, Nu metal
    Paul Dedrick Gray (April 8, 1972 – May 24, 2010) also known as the Pig or by his number #2, was an American musician best known as the former bassist, backing vocalist, songwriter and one of the...  more
  • 8

    Tommy Bolin

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    AlbumsTeaser, 1420 Beachwood Drive: The California Rehearsals, Part 2, Private Eyes, Moxy

    Thomas Richard Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) was an American guitarist and songwriter who played with Zephyr (from 1969 to 1971), James Gang (from 1973 to 1974), and Deep Purple (from...  more

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    #635 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#65 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

  • 9

    William Elliott Whitmore

    Folk music, Alternative country

    AlbumsAshes to Dust, Song of the Blackbird, Latitudes, Animals in the Dark, Untitled

    William Elliott Whitmore (born May 11, 1978) is an American blues, country, folk singer and musician. He plays roots-folk music that is often inspired by his life on his family farm in the hills of...  more
  • 10

    Isaac James

    Rock music, Rock and roll
    Isaac James is an American rock band with roots based in both Kansas City, Missouri and Des Moines, Iowa....  more
  • 11

    Joey Jordison

    Horror punk, Doom metal
    Nathan Jonas "Joey" Jordison (born April 26, 1975), is an American musician, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work as the former drummer and co-songwriter for...  more

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    #8 of 88 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time#31 of 127 Famous People Who Died In 2021

  • 12

    Sid Wilson

    Hip hop music, Dubstep

    AlbumsAbunaii Sounds - Tataku on Your Atama, The New Leader, Sound Assault, Live at Konkrete Jungle New York City, Full Metal Scratch-It

    Sidney George Wilson (born March 15, 1978) , also known as TheDJ, DJ Starscream, #0 (or 0), is an American DJ, keyboardist, rapper and pianist, best known as the turntablist of the Grammy...  more
  • 13

    Craig Jones

    Nu metal, Thrash metal
    Craig Michael Jones (born February 11, 1972), also known by his nickname "133", is an American heavy metal musician. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he is best known as the sampler and keyboardist in...  more
  • 14

    Bix Beiderbecke

    White jazz, Jazz

    AlbumsThe Bix Beiderbecke Collection, Bix Beiderbecke and the Chicago Cornets, Felix the Cat, EMI Jazz Masters: Bix Beiderbecke, With Jean Goldkette's Orchestra 1924-1927

    Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer. Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s, a...  more
  • 15

    Andy Williams

    Pop music, Traditional pop music

    AlbumsWe Need a Little Christmas, The Andy Williams Christmas Album, Moon River, Christmas Present, Music to Fall in Love By

    Howard Andrew Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012) was an American singer. He recorded 43 albums in his career, of which 15 have been gold-certified and three platinum-certified. He was...  more

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    #33 of 36 Twin Musicians#467 of 656 The Best Singers Of All Time

  • 16

    Julia Michaels

    Pop, Dance
    Julia Carin Cavazos (born November 13, 1993), known by her stage name Julia Michaels, is an American singer and songwriter from Davenport, Iowa. She began performing as a teenager and later began...  more
  • 17

    Chris Fehn

    Nu metal, Metalcore
    Christopher Michael "Chris" Fehn (born February 24, 1973), or known by his number #3, is an American musician, best known as a former percussionist of the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band...  more
  • 18

    AlbumsAmerican Spirit, The Real McCall An American Storyteller, Wolf Creek Pass, Roses for Mama, C. W. McCall & Co.

    William Dale Fries Jr. (born November 15, 1928) is an American singer, activist and politician best known by his stage name C. W. McCall and for his truck-themed outlaw country songs. While most of...  more

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    #996 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#241 of 291 The Top Country Artists of All Time

  • 19

    Simon Estes

    Simon Estes (born March 2, 1938) is an operatic bass-baritone of African-American descent who had a major international opera career beginning in the 1960s. He has sung at most of the world's major...  more
  • 20

    Radio Moscow

    Blues-rock, Garage rock

    AlbumsBrain Cycles, Radio Moscow, The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz, 3 & 3 Quarters, Magical Dirt

    Radio Moscow is an American psychedelic rock band from Story City, Iowa. Formed in 2003 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Parker Griggs, the band currently features bassist Anthony Meier and live...  more
  • 21
    Madeline Mae "Maddie" Poppe is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and the season 16 winner of American Idol. She is a multi-instrumentalist playing the guitar, piano, and ukulele. Prior to...  more
  • 22

    Greg Brown

    Folk music

    AlbumsIn the Dark With You, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Friend of Mine, One More Goodnight Kiss, The Poet Game

    Greg Brown (born Gregory Dane Brown July 2, 1949) is an American folk musician from Iowa....  more
  • 23

    Nate Ruess

    Indie pop, Power pop
    Nathaniel Joseph "Nate" Ruess is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is the lead vocalist of indie pop band Fun, and previously of The Format. As of 2015, he also performs as a solo...  more
  • 24

    Charlie Haden

    Folk jazz, Hard bop

    AlbumsFolk Songs, The Ballad of the Fallen, Always Say Goodbye, Song X: Twentieth Anniversary, The Art of the Song

    Charles Edward Haden (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) was an American jazz double bass player, bandleader, composer and educator whose career spanned more than fifty years. In the late 1950s, Haden...  more
  • 25

    Brian Bell

    Pop punk, Rock music
    Brian Lane Bell (born December 9, 1968) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of the alternative...  more
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List Rules: Only artists born or raised in Iowa or bands formed in Iowa..